Internal Pressure and Building Safety

by Henry Liu, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, Mo. 65211,
Patrick J. Saathoff, Research Assoc.; Center for Environmental Assessment, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Columbia, Mo. 65201,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 10, Pg. 2223-2234

Document Type: Journal Paper


The wind-induced pressure inside buildings has a profound effect on building safety. Yet, little attention has been given to it in the past. The effect is either ignored or improperly considered in contemporary building codes or standards. This paper seeks to clarify the matter and improve the way internal pressure is considered in the design of buildings. Both static and dynamic effects of internal pressure are considered herein. The dynamic effects include the overshooting of internal pressure following the breakage of a windward window during high wind, and the Helmholtz resonance created by any disturbance. Combined effects of internal and external pressure variations are also reviewed.

Subject Headings: Safety | Dynamic pressure | Wind forces | Building codes | Windows | Wind pressure | Resonance | External pressure

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